Saint-Gobain Objects to Xinyi's Motion for New Trial, Judgment, in Ongoing $24 Million Patent Infringement Suit
June 15, 2010

Saint-Gobain has filed an objection to Xinyi's request for a judgment as a matter of law or a new trial in the ongoing $24 million patent infringement suit it filed in 2006. Xinyi Glass North America and Xinyi Automobile Glass Co. had filed a motion in early May requesting that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio hold vacate or modify the jury's $22 million damages verdict, or that the court hold a new trial in the patent infringement suit Saint-Gobain filed against it in November 2006. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

First, Xinyi had alleged in its motion that the correct construction of "centering" requires an even gap all around the periphery of the glazing, and that Saint-Gobain failed to prove infringement on this point, as it had defined "centering" as "non-skewed" or "straight" during the course of the trial. However, Saint-Gobain argues in its response that Xinyi's argument was rejected by the Court early in the case.

In addition, the defendant had argued that it shouldn't be charged damages for the time during which it was unaware of the patents involved in the case, and that Xinyi officials didn't know about the patents involved until it was notified about these in May 2005. However, Saint-Gobain argues that this is a new argument on the part of Xinyi and a "required pre-verdict motion" is required before a new argument can be brought forth.

"Also, actual knowledge of the patent is not required," writes Saint-Gobain in its recent motion.

Xinyi also claimed in its motion that Saint-Gobain "failed to prove that 277,645 ... windshields [in question] were actually installed in the [United States] during the term of [the patents]." Company officials also said that while Saint-Gobain based its case on Xinyi's sale of the windshields in the United States, the company didn't address "actual installations of those products by installers in the [United States]."

In response to this point, Saint-Gobain claims that Xinyi president Antonio Tam, along with other witnesses, "testified that the windshields were meant to be and were installed in automobiles."

And, on Xinyi's assertion that the jury reached a "seriously erroneous result," Saint-Gobain writes, "Xinyi cannot demonstrate with respect to any of the issues raised in its motion that reasonable persons could not have reached a verdict in favor of Saint-Gobain. The evidence was overwhelming in Saint-Gobain's favor and, in view of the substantial deference owed to the jury verdict, Xinyi's motion must be denied."

At press time, the court had not yet ruled on Xinyi's motion, and it had filed a second motion for an extension of time to file a response to Saint-Gobain's objection until Friday, June 18.

The court had previously ruled that Xinyi owes Saint-Gobain damages of approximately $22 million, along with attorney's fees of nearly $2 million and court costs totaling $384,882.99 for a total of more than $24 million. The trial was held last November, and the final damages figure was released this April.

In the original suit, Saint-Gobain alleged that Xinyi infringed on two of its patents, one titled "Spacer for Windshield Bracket" (known in court documents as the '669 patent) and one titled "Method of Centering Windshield Glazings" (referred to as the '395 patent). The '669 patent is said to be for the "first spacer being provided with means for centering and aligning the glazing upon the bracket," while the '395 patent is described as follows, "whereby said lip portion of the spacer contacts said bracket to provide a force for centering said glazing thereon, which force is sufficient to maintain centering of the glazing on the bracket."

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